US 3693695 A
A closure for a vertical doorway comprises a sheet of flexible material secured at the top of the doorway in the plane of the latter and fixed at its lower edge to a roller within which is mounted a driving motor for rotating the roller to wind and unwind the flexible sheet about the roller. The roller is guided in its winding and unwinding movements by rails which are inclined to the vertical in such manner as to assure that those portions of the sheet that are unwound from the roller remain at all times flush with the plane of the doorway.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Deane 1451 Sept. 26, 1972  CLOSURE CONSTRUCTION  Inventor: Chester A. Deane, 3149 Allentown Road, Lima, Ohio 45007 2,007,552 7/1935 Vetterlein ..160/202 1,595,254 8/1926 Kuyper ..160/242 1,671,545 5/1928 Reuther 160/242 FORElGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 78,326 9/1919 Austria ..160/263 Primary Examiner--Peter M. Caun Attorney-Learman & McCulloch [5 7] ABSTRACT A closure for a vertical doorway comprises a sheet of flexible material secured at the top of the doorway in the plane of the latter and fixed at its lower edge to a roller within which is mounted a driving motor for rotating the roller to wind and unwind the flexible sheet about the roller. The roller is guided in its winding and unwinding movements by rails which are inclined to the vertical in such manner as to assure that those portions of the sheet that are unwound from the roller remain at all times flush with the plane of the doorway.
7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTED8EP26 I912 sum 1 Hi2 CHESTER A. DEANE CLOSURE CONSTRUCTION This application is a continuation-in-part of application, Ser. No. 753,463,filed Aug. 19, 1968.
This invention relates to a flexible sheet closure construction for a doorway and more particularly to a motor driven roller secured to the bottom edge of a vertical closure sheet so as to enable the doorway to be opened and closed in response to the winding and unwinding of the sheet about the roller.
Flexible sheet closure members have many applications for use as doorway closures, room dividers, partitions and the like. A flexible, thin sheet makes an ideal closure or partition, particularly if the sheet can be wound about and unwound from a roller by power means, and such constructions have been proposed in the past. There are, however, certain disadvantages to the known constructions. For example, some of the motor driven constructions have had to rely upon chains and sprocket driving means, which not only are dangerous but also are noisy, unsightly and subject to malfunction. Others of the known constructions have the disadvantage that the winding and unwinding of the sheet about a roller causes the edges of the sheet to rub against some stationary member, causing wear and fraying of the flexible sheet.
Another objection to some of the known constructions is that it is not possible to maintain the flexible sheet flush against the edges of the opening, thereby making it possible for dust and debris to pass around the sides of the closure sheet. In all of the known constructions of the class referred to, the roller on which the sheet is to be wound must extend the full width of the opening, but the width of doorways, partitions and the like rarely are uniform. Accordingly, it has been the practice heretofore to purchase a roller of steel, aluminum, or the like, and of a specified length each time a closure was to be installed, but it frequently happens that rolls of the desired length are not available at the time they are required, thereby resulting in delays or requiring the purchase of unnecessarily long rolls for subsequent cutting. As a result, the construction and installation of flexible sheet closures are often delayed and unduly expensive.
Another obstacle to maintaining a flexible closure sheet flush with the doorway or other opening, especially when the sheet is wound upon and unwound from a roller, is that the diameter of the roller and sheet wound thereon varies as the sheet is wound upon or unwound from the roller.
An object of this invention is to provide a flexible 'closure construction which overcomes the disadvantages of the known constructions for similar purposes.
Another object of the invention is to provide a roller type, flexible sheet closure for an opening in a building and in which the unwound portion of the sheet remains flush with the plane of the opening in all positions of the roller.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be pointed out specifically or will become apparent from the following description when it is considered in conjunction with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. I is a fragmentary view partly in elevation and partly in section of apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention and applied to the inside of a building having a doorway or other opening therein which is adapted to be opened and closed by a flexible sheet closure;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, sectional view taken on the line 2-2 ofFIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, elevational view on a reduced scale of the roller.
Apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention is adapted for use in conjunction with a building 1 having a vertical wall 2 in which there is an opening 3 bounded at the top by the wall 2 and at the sides by vertical frame members 4 and 5, and at the bottom by a sill 6. Adapted to serve as a closure for the opening is a flexible, thin, tough sheet 7 of suitable material such as calendared vinyl reinforced with nylon cord. The sheet has an area larger than the area of the opening 3 so as to enable the sheet to extend beyond the top and both sides of the opening.
At the upper end of the sheet 7 is formed a loop 8 within which is accommodated a rod 9 which extends the full width of the sheet. The loop 8, together with the rod 9, is fitted into a socket 10 forming part of a bracket 11 having a flange 12 which may be fixed by screws 13 or the like to the inner surface of the wall 2. Also supported within the bracket 11 is a U-shaped clamp 14 which bears against the loop end of the sheet and prevents inadvertent withdrawal of the latter from the socket 10. The clamp 14 may be secured in place by screws 15. The construction of the bracket 11 is such that the sheet 7 may hang vertically from the lower edge of the wall 2 and lie in the plane of the opening 3. Thus, the sides of the sheet 7 will lie snugly against the frame members 4 and 5 at the sides of the opening 3.
As is apparent from FIGS. 1 and 2, the bracket 1 1 extends a short distance only above the upper edge of the opening 3. Consequently, it is possible for the opening 3 to extend substantially the entire height of the wall 2.
The lower end of the sheet 7 is attached, in a manner which subsequently will be explained, to an elongated roller designated generally by the reference character 16. The roller 16 is composed of a plurality of one or more identical, elongated cores 17 (see FIG. 3) in endto-end relation, each of the cores having a central opening 18 and a plurality of longitudinally extending, circumferentially spaced, T-shaped grooves 19. The outer surface 20 of the core 17 between adjacent grooves is formed on the arc of a circle having its center at the center of the opening 18.
The roller 16 also includes a plurality of elongated members sector-shaped in cross-section, the number of such members corresponding to the number of grooves 19 in the core. In the disclosed embodiment there are four grooves 19 and, accordingly, there are four sector members, three of which are identical and are indicated by the reference character 21 and the fourth of which is identified by the reference character 22. Each of the sector members 21 has inner and outer concentric arcuate walls 23 and 24, respectively, spaced apart by a radially extending rib 25, the walls 23 and 24 being formed on the arc of a circle having its center at the center of the core opening 18. Corresponding ends of the walls 23 and 24 are joined by radial ribs 26 which are half the thickness of the rib 25. Fixed to the inner wall 23 of each of the sector members 21 and extending in prolongation of the central rib 25 is a T-shaped tongue or projection 27 which slidably may be accommodated in any one of the slots 19 so as to interlock the sector 21 and the core 17.
The sector member 22 is generally similar to the sector members 21 and corresponding parts are identified by corresponding reference characters, followed by the suffix a. The difference between the two kinds of sector members is that the member 22 has a shortened radial side wall 28 which terminates at its radially outer end in a substantially tangential flange 29 which merges with a generally S-shaped wall 30 that forms a socket 31 extending axially of the member 22. The radially outer end of the wall 30 merges smoothly with the arcuate outer wall 24a.
The socket 31 is adapted to receive the lower end of the sheet 7 which is provided with a loop 32 within which is fitted an elongated rod 33. The sheet is retained in the socket 31 by an elongated clamp 34 which is secured at intervals along its length to the flange 29 by screws 35.
The sector members 21 and 22 may be assembled with the core 17 by sliding the projections 27 and 27a into the respective grooves 19 of the core. When the parts are assembled, the side walls 26, 26a and 28 will abut one another and the walls 24, 24a, with the outer surface of the clamp 34, together will form a cylinder.
The interlocking construction of the core 17 and the sector-shaped members enables a roller of any desired length to be assembled. It is important, however, that the joints between core members on the one hand and sector members on the other hand be staggered axially of the roller. This characteristic of the construction is best illustrated in FIG. 4 wherein two end-to-end core members 17 abut one another and form a joint 36 and wherein the lengths of the sector members 21 and 22 are different so as to form joints 37 and 38, respectively, which are staggered axially with respect to the joint 36 and to one another. By means of the disclosed construction it is possible to stockpile component parts of the roller from which rollers of any desired length can be assembled.
Means 38 is provided for rotating the roller 16 and comprises a reversible electric motor 39 (FIG. 1) that is accommodated within a sleeve 40 at one end of which is fixed a mounting member 41. The motor is secured to the mounting member 41 by bolts 42. The mounting member 41 includes. a hub 43 journaled by bushings 44 in a spider 45 which is secured to a sleeve 46 that overlies and is spaced from the sleeve 40. The hub 43 is secured by bolts 47 to a disk 48 that is accommodated rotatably within the sleeve 46 and which carries at its outer surface four rollers 49 which straddle and ride upon an upstanding guide rail 50 that is fixed to the inner surface of the building wall 4 and is inclined inwardly from the wall for a purpose presently be be explained. The construction thus far described is such that the motor 13 is disabled from rotating by the rollers 49 and the guide 50, but the sleeve 46 is free to move vertically and also is free to rotate about the motor for a purpose presently to be explained.
The motor 39 includes a rotatable armature shaft 51 on which is keyed a brake disk 52. Also fixed on the shaft 51 is a pinion 53 that meshes with a plurality of planet gears 54 that also mesh with a ring or sun gear 55 carried by a sleeve 56 fixed to the sleeve 40 and mounted within and spaced from the sleeve 46. At that end of the sleeve 56 which is adjacent the motor 39 is a flange 57 on which is mounted a plurality of brake shoes 58 of known construction and which act on the brake disk 52 in a manner to be explained.
The planetary gears 54 are journaled on a spider 59 having a hub 60 which in turn is journaled in a support 61 fixed to the sleeve 56. The shaft 60 supports a pinion 62 in mesh with planetary gears 63 journaled on a spider 64 and also in mesh with a sun gear 65 fixed to the sleeve 56. The spider 64 has a shaft 66 journaled in a support 67 similar to the support 61 and has a pinion 68 in mesh with planetary gears 69 and with a sun gear 70 fixed to the sleeve 56. The gears 69 are journaled on a spider 71 having a shaft 72 journaled in a support 73 and on which is keyed a driving member 74 having a terminal end flange 75 which fits within and is secured to the sleeve 46. The diameter of the driving member 74 corresponds to the diameter of the roller 16 and abuts the end of the latter. Driving dogs 76 extend axially of the member 74 and fit into the spaces between the radial ribs 25 and 26 of selected sector members 21. The shaft 72 also preferably includes an end portion 77 which fits into the opening 18 of the core 17.
The apparatus between the motor 39 and the ad- 30 jacent end of the core 17 is a speed reduction, drive transmitting or coupling mechanism and is indicated generally by the reference character 38a.
In the embodiment disclosed in the drawings, that end of the roller 16 which is opposite the end in which the motor 39 is housed is provided with an end plate 78 similar to the end plate 48 and having a centrally located stub shaft 79 which is rotatably accommodated in the opening 18 of the core 17. .lournalled on the plate 78 are two pairs of rollers 80 which straddle a vertical guide rail 81 similar to the guide rail 50. it will be understood that a motor like the motor 39 and a drive transmitting mechanism like the mechanism 38a can be provided at both ends of the roller 16.
As is best shown in FIG. 1, the sheet anchor cavity 30 does not extend the full length of the roller 16, but the sheet 7 does extend substantially the full length of the roller. That portion of the sheet 7 which overlies the roller from the terminal end of the core 17 to the ad- 50 jacent end of the roller thus will not be accommodated in a slot, but instead will be secured by adhesive or other means to the sleeve 46.
Although the wiring for the motor 39 is not disclosed in the drawings, it will be understood that wires leading from the motor can be passed through the hollow hub 43 and through an opening in the plate 48 for connection to a suitable source of power.
When the apparatus is in the condition illustrated in FIG. 1, operation of the motor 39 to rotate the shaft 51 in one direction will cause rotation of the roller 16 in such direction as to wind sheet 7 around the roller, thereby causing the roller 16 to move upwardly toward the bracket 11 so as to permit free movement through the opening 3. As the sheet is wound about the roller, the effective diameter thereof increases due to that portion of the sheet which is wound about the roller. See FIG. 2. It is to compensate for this effective diameter increase of the roller that the rails 50 and 81 are inclined to the vertical, and their inclination is such that the unwound portion of the sheet remains at all times flush with the plane of the opening. Stated differently, the inclination of the rails is such that the roller, and any sheet material wound thereon, is substantially tangential at all times to the plane of the opening. Operation of the motor 39 to rotate the shaft 51 in the opposite direction will cause the roller to unwind the sheet, thereby restoring the sheet 7 to a position in which it closes the opening 3. The inclination of the rails 50 and 81 assures retention of the unwound sheet portion flush with the plane of the opening. The brake shoes 58 cooperate with the disk 52 to maintain the roller 16 in any selected position of vertical adjustment.
Inasmuch as the sheet is wound onto and unwound from the roller 16, and inasmuch as the periphery of the rolled sheet always is tangential to the plane of the opening 3, there never is any scraping of the sheet 7 against the walls about the opening. Consequently, there will be no chafing of the sheet.
The complete enclosure of the operating motor and its associated driving mechanism within the roller has several important advantages, among which are the avoidance of driving parts externally of the roller, protection of the motor and driving mechanism form dirt and weather, and avoidance of safety hazards. In addition, the mounting of the motor and driving mechanism within the roller avoids the imposition of unbalancing forces on the sheet 7, thereby making it possible for the winding and unwinding of the sheet about the roller to be true.
The disclosed embodiment is representative of p a presently preferred form of the invention, but is intended to be illustrative rather than definitive thereof. The invention is defined in the claims.
l. A closure for a vertical opening bounded at the top and sides by a frame, said closure comprising a flexible sheet of such size as to cover said opening and overlap and engage the side of said frame; means securing one edge of said sheet to the frame at the top of said opening and flush with the plane thereof; a roller; means securing the opposite edge of said sheet to said roller; means for rotating said roller about an axis in either of two directions so as selectively to wind and unwind said sheet about said roller and effect movements of said roller toward and away from the top of said opening; and elongate guide means inclined to the vertical throughout their length for guiding said roller in said movements, said guide means being inclined to the vertical by an amount such that at any point along the length of said guide means the distance from the axis of rotation of said roller to the plane of said opening corresponds substantially to the radius of said roller and the sheet wound thereon, whereby the unwound portion of said sheet remains at all times vertical and flush with the plane of said opening and in engagement with the sides of said frame.
2. The construction set forth in claim 1 wherein said guide means includes a pair of upstanding members located one at each side of said opening, said members being spaced a greater distance from the plane of said opening adjacent the top thereof than at any other portio f said 0 enin fhe con struc on set forth in claim 2 wherein the inclination of said members is such that the periphery of said roller and the sheet wound thereon is tangential to the plane of said opening.
4. The construction set forth in claim 1 wherein said means for rotating said roller is housed within said roller.
5. The construction set forth in claim 1 wherein said roller comprises a core and a plurality of elongated, independent sectors connected to said core and together encircling the latter.
6. The construction set forth in claim 5 wherein said sectors are of different lengths but have a combined length to span the length of said core.
7. The construction set forth in claim 1 wherein said guide means includes guide rails secured to said frame on opposite sides of said opening and follower members carried by said roller at each end thereof in engagement with said rails.